Internet Safety

Using the internet safely.

Basic Safety

  • Keep the computer in a public area where everyone can see the screen. Computers should not be in bedrooms or other places where a door can be closed.
  • There are programs available that let you track sites that are visited and block different sites so you can know what people are doing on your computer.
  • Passwords should not be related to names or birth dates. They need to be random, include numbers, and should be changed at least yearly. Do NOT use the same password for multiple sites. Do not use dictionary words for your passwords. One suggestion is to use the first letter from a favorite phrase as a password, replacing some of the letters with numbers. The phrase “I am a child of God. And He has sent me here,” replacing the letter I with the number 1 and the letter O with the number 0, could yield the password – 1aac0GaHhsmh

Children and the Internet

  • Set family rules for when the computer can be used, for how long, and what they can do on the computer. When I taught elementary school I taught my students that their parents need to know everything they do online.
  • Crash & Tell – This was the policy when I was at BYU if something unwanted popped up on the screen. We were to “crash” the computer (turn it off by holding the power button, not by going through the normal shut down methods) and then tell the person in charge of the computer lab immediately what had happened. Some sites, once they start popping up, are difficult to impossible to stop. Crashing the computer immediately stops it.
  • NetSmartz – A web site with information for parents and games and activities for kids of all ages about being safe on the internet.
  • Google Family Safety Center – Google safety tools, tips, and advice
  • NEVER give the full names of your kids.
    • One parent I know uses just their first initials. Another parent gave her kids nicknames that she uses on her blog. She also would blur their faces slightly when posting pictures of them.
  • Be careful when mentioning where you are, cities, schools, things that could be used to find you or your kids.
  • If they aren’t your kids, don’t mention their names or specifics about them without talking to their parents first.


  • NEVER give out personal information on the internet such as your address or full name.
    • Exceptions – Internet banking and shopping. Look for a security seal or web addresses that start with https instead of http to know they are secure.
    • Doing business online carries similar risks to doing business in person.
  • It’s better to mention a vacation AFTER you are back than before you leave.
    • No sense telling everyone your house is going to be empty for that time.
    • Many thieves are using blogs and social networking sites to learn when houses will be empty.
  • Blogs can be set to private so that only the people you invite can see them
  • Tagging blog posts and pictures makes them more searchable.
  • Many digital cameras (especially camera phones) are set to record the GPS location of photos when they are taken. If you share a photo and it has that information attached you are sharing where you are at. Either remove the information before sharing the photo or change the settings on your camera so the information is not recorded.
  • Remember the privacy of others.
    • Several people I know use nicknames when talking about other people, even other adults, to protect privacy.
    • Ask permission before sharing things about others.
  • Understand the privacy settings for any program you use online and use them. Remember that unless you set it otherwise, anyone with the internet, anywhere in the world, can find what you put on the internet. And not everyone in the world is a good person.
    • Facebook is set to reveal all of your information to the web by default. You must go in and change the settings on your own. The settings can be changed from time to time so it is a good idea to check on them every so often.
    • Programs should have it so that you can limit who can see what you put up. Blogs and photo sites can be made private so that only certain people who you invite can see them.
    • Just because a program has a space to put information, you do not necessarily need to provide the information. You are in charge of what information you provide. Remember that once it is out there, you can’t bring it back. Err on the side of too little information.

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